Aaron Finch and Travis Head have all but been confirmed to make their Test debuts in the first Test against Pakistan and they could be joined by uncapped Queensland duo Michael Neser and Marnus Labuschagne; Neser is the frontrunner to edge out Peter Siddle as the second fast bowler while Matthew Renshaw’s disrupted preparation could see Labuschagne earn a call-up.
Should all four be handed their Baggy Greens on Sunday, it would represent the first time Australia has fielded four debutants in a Test since the World Series Cricket split more than 40 years ago.
And putting aside the unprecedented turmoil of that period, and Tests immediately following both World Wars, it would be just the third time in a century that Australia has taken four new players into a Test.
The reasons for the multiple new faces in the UAE have been well-documented; the suspension of three top-order batsmen and the absence of injured quicks Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins means five first-choice players are unavailable, while new coach and selector Justin Langer has been unsurprisingly keen to make some changes at the start of his new era.
The fact this series is being played on the dry surfaces of the UAE instead of the pace-friendly conditions encountered on Australia’s last tour in South Africa has also played a role.
Australia played seven debutants in its first Test following both World Wars - in Sydney in 1920 and Wellington in 1946, each match coming after an eight-year gap between Tests - and there were six new faces for the opening Test of the 1977-78 season, the first after the nation’s best players jumped onboard the World Series Cricket train.
A total of 12 players made their debuts in that five-Test series against India - six in the first Test, two in the second and four in the fifth - as it attempted to cover the enormous holes left by the exits of the Chappell brothers, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh.